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Coach accused of choking wrestler at middle school practice

A middle school wrestling coach has been charged with choking one of his athletes, deputies said.

Jacob Hoke, 28, assistant wrestling coach at Liberty Middle School in Covington, choked a 13-year-old at practice, according to a news release from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 5, a sheriff’s official responded to the school about a possible assault, Sgt. Michael Cunningham said in a news release. A man told the deputy that when he picked up his grandson from wrestling practice, the teen said an assistant coach “choked him during practice,” according to the incident report.

“I did not see any visible marks on the juvenile,” the deputy wrote in the report.

Evidence backed up the student’s version of events, and warrants were issued Jan. 16 for Hoke’s arrest, Cunningham said.

Six other students saw the incident, authorities said.

He was charged with cruelty to children, six counts of second-degree cruelty to a child, battery and disorderly conduct.

Hoke has been placed on administrative leave, according to Newton County school officials.

“As this is a personnel matter under investigation, we cannot release more information at this time,” the school system said in a statement to Channel 2 Action News.

Hoke bonded out of the Newton County jail Thursday.

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